House Bonding Bill

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Capital Investment committee released a bonding bill this
afternoon. The proposal includes $2 million for library construction
grants!! This matches up nicely with SF 210, which also contains $2 million
for library construction grants.

Scroll to page 5.12 for the library rider language:

Scroll to page 1, line 24 for our line item on the spreadsheet:

House Capital Investment meets Wednesday at 3pm, presumably to move the bill
out to Ways & Means.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Unified GOP Budget Plan

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Sunday, April 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

At the request of Governor Dayton, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have
come up with a unified plan for negotiations as we enter the final three
weeks of the regular session. The GOP budget plan doesn’t move closer to the
Governor’s positions, but is a merger or splitting the difference between
the House and Senate GOP plans.

The unified plan calls for $1.15 billion in tax cuts, about half way between
the House’s $1.35 billion and the Senate’s $900 million. The Governor
proposed about $300 million in tax cuts last January. For E-12 programs, the
GOP plan goes to the Senate’s level of $300 million, up from the House’s
$271 million. However, this is still a far cry from the Governor’s $709
million in proposed E-12 funding. The GOP plan is insufficient to meet 2&2
on the formula ($371 million price tag) and certainly nowhere near the
Governor’s desired level of spending on preK.

Monday will be a hectic day at the Capitol. The various budget conference
committees will unveil the details of their spending plans. E-12 is
convening at 3pm along with several other conference committees. GOP leaders
are hoping to negotiate a budget plan with the Governor by Thursday, but
that doesn’t seem likely.


The Legacy conference committee met for a walk through of the House and
Senate plans last Thursday. They meet again Tuesday at 9am. Those with
closer ties to Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Carrie Ruud might send a last
minute note to them, urging them to support the House’s level of funding for
library legacy programming.


The House is set to finally release a bonding bill early this week. Speaker
Daudt and Ways & Means Chair Jim Knoblach said it will be an $800 million
bill; $200 million of which will go to transportation projects. Library
construction grants have an uphill battle in the House.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Legislature Returns from Break

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The legislature returned to business today after their Passover/Easter break. They named conference committee members to the various budget and tax bills. Those conference committees will begin meeting this week. With five weeks left the legislature and Governor are miles apart on tax, spending and policy priorities.

E-12 Conferees:
House Reps: Jennifer Loon, Sondra Erickson, Peggy Bennett, Ron Kresha, Mary Murphy
Senators: Carla Nelson, Eric Pratt, Justin Eichorn, Bill Weber, Chuck Wiger

The E-12 conference committee meets for the first time tomorrow at 11:30am in room 200 State Office Building. They will walk through the “side-by-sides” which are comparison documents between the House and Senate bills. This is a perfunctory exercise before any substantial discussion, negotiation and action takes place.

Here’s a link if you would like to peruse the side-by-sides.

Hopefully your efforts last week to continue pushing our regional and multitype system support legislature will pay off. It’s unclear exactly how the conference committee process will proceed. We’ve heard the GOP majorities will work quickly to put conference committee reports on the Governor’s desk to see what he’ll do with them. We’ve also heard they will leave the conference committees open for negotiations with the Governor and use the time remaining until the May 22rd prescribed adjournment date.

We do know the Governor has many problems with the bills as they currently stand. Here’s a link to 55 letters the Administration sent the legislature outlining their issues and concerns with the bills (scroll to page 82 for E-12):

The Higher Education conference committee was also appointed. Those conferees are:
Senators Michelle Fischbach, Rich Draheim, Paul Anderson, Scott Jensen, Greg Clausen

House Reps. Bud Nornes, Drew Christensen, Brian Daniels, Abigail Whelen, Ilhan Ohmar

Legacy Bill

The Legacy bill is still making its way through the Senate process. It will clear the full Senate Finance committee tomorrow morning and them onto a Senate floor debate and passage before getting to a conference committee with the House.

Bonding Bill

A bonding bill is still part of the discussion, but is on hold until House leadership gives the Capital Investment committee the green light to produce one.

Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

IMLS Funding and Appropriations Process

The American Library Association (ALA) is offering a webinar to cover the federal appropriations process this Thursday, April 13, at 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time. Further details are in the quoted text below. In addition to the information regarding the process at the federal level, here is a bit of detail on how Minnesota and SELCO might be affected.

Currently, Minnesota receives approximately $2.5 million annually from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS). The bulk of that money is spent on statewide programs such as a contract with Minitex for statewide delivery between regions, MNLINK access, and the ELM databases. A portion also funds the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library, which serves pre-school age children to seniors with visual, physical and reading disabilities for whom conventional print is a barrier to reading.
In addition, in some years part of these funds are made available to libraries through competitive Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) grants. In the past, SELCO/SELS has been a lucky recipient of several of those grants.  Most recently LSTA funds helped underwrite the costs of the OCLC Reclamation project. If the funding to IMLS is cut or eliminated there will be effects felt throughout the state and the SELCO region.

This was posted last Thursday on the ALA District Dispatch webpage, which you can access directly here. In addition, attached are letters to Senators Franken and Klobuchar that offer deeper explanation and clarification of exactly what is at stake.  

Appropriations, Budgets, and Continuing Resolutions: what you need to know about the Congressional Appropriations Process

Confused about the $1 trillion Federal Appropriations process? Does talk of the FY 17 budget, FY 18 budget, the President’s “Skinny” budget, Continuing Resolutions and Omnibus budgeting leave you a tad confused? You are not alone!

Join the ALA Washington Office Appropriations expert Kevin Maher and the Penn Hill lobbying group’s Aissa Canchola for an hour-long discussion of the ABCs of the budget process in Washington. These budget experts will help explain how Congress can be working on last year’s budget AND this year’s budget at the same time, what the President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services could mean for more than $213 million in federal library funding and how Congress is expected to proceed in the coming weeks and months.To help answer some of these questions, ALA is hosting a webinar on April 13, 2017, 2:30pm eastern to provide an overview of the Federal budget and appropriations process, its impact on libraries throughout the country and the importance of front line advocacy efforts on behalf of libraries.

The stakes are high this year and all federal library funding is on the chopping block after the President effectively proposed eliminating these important programs. Your calls, emails, tweets to Members of the House of Representatives in support of the annual “Dear Appropriator” letters for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program proved highly successful this year, but we’re only at the start of a year-long FY 2018 appropriations. What’s next on the funding front?

You will walk away from this session with a clearer idea of how Congress’ budget and appropriations machine works and, perhaps most importantly, how YOU can get involved in saving critical library funding for LSTA and IAL.

Here is your chance to hear from the experts and ask questions of how it all works (or doesn’t). No registration is required – just join us on YouTube on April 13, 2017 at 2:30pm eastern and use the #SaveIMLS to ask a question.

Update on Senate Legacy Bill

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Senate Legacy Bill

The Senate Legacy bill was made public today. The Senate Environment & Legacy committee will go through the bill tomorrow in committee at 10am. The bill includes $2.2 million/year for regional library system legacy funds and $300,000/year for the digital library.

As a reminder, the House Legacy bill includes $2.75 million in FY 18 and $2.5 million in FY 19 for regional library systems legacy funding and $375,000/year for the digital library project.

Here you can see the Senate Legacy spreadsheet (scroll to lines 271 regional systems, 279 digital library).

Click here to view the Senate Legacy bill (scroll to lines 62.29 regional systems, 65.26 digital library).

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates


Senate Education Bill Disappointing

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, March 27, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Senate E-12 Omnibus Bill

Despite your grassroots efforts, we fell short in the Senate E-12 bill this afternoon. The committee didn’t fund any portion of our library systems request in SF 1033. Instead, the committee put $288 million of their $300 million target into the basic education formula.

There’s another $4 million in the bill to expand early learning programs. There’s $6 million for Reading Core and a few other odds and ends and smaller change items. The Senate E-12 committee heard a request to expand school Broadband Equity Aid, but they didn’t include that funding either. Overall, it’s a very basic E-12 bill with no real drama (see the House bill for that).

At this point of session we’re in tough shape for our systems’ requests in the E-12 bill. None of the three players; Governor, House & Senate, have much for library initiatives in their education proposals. The House bill has $50,000/year for two years for the Center for the Book.

If the Legislature moves forward with their own ‘round 1’ E-12 package it’s likely the Governor will veto it and demand an increased spending target. He’s asking for $709 million for E-12 where as the legislature is at $300 million in the Senate and $258 million in the House.

Assuming the E-12 target increases in any ‘round 2’ negotiation, the likely places for additional dollars are to get the school general education formula to 2&2, more money for PreK and help with TRA.

Senate Legacy Bill

We’ll likely see the Senate’s Legacy bill rollout Thursday morning at 10am.

Bonding Bill

There’s still no sign of a House bonding bill. The Senate bonding bill, SF 210, awaits floor action at some point when leadership is ready to take it up. SF 210 includes $2 million for library construction and renovation grants.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Call your Senator – SF 1033

Please contact your Senator about including SF 1033 in the Senate Omnibus Education Finance bill. Time is of the essence!  Regional library systems systems need your support for the requested funding increases. Hearing from constituents is important for this issue.

 Don’t know what to say? Here are some talking points–feel free to customize/tailor as you wish:

  • No new dollars have been invested in Minnesota library systems since FY2009.
  • Due to the nature of the current formula, SELCO has lost over $500,000 in the past six years resulting in stressed services for libraries.  
  • The library systems provide the foundation for Minnesota residents to access cooperative statewide services including MNLINK interlibrary loan, ELM databases, reciprocal borrowing privileges, Overdrive eBooks, training, and support.

If your Senator is not on the Committee, ask her/him to ask their colleagues to include SF 1033 in the omnibus education finance bill.Senate Information:

Don’t know your Senator? Find them here:

Legislative update on Library Legacy progress

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Omnibus Legacy bill has been posted. It will be discussed Monday, March 26 afternoon and voted out of committee.

You can read it here

Scroll to lines 74.2 to find $375,000/year for the digital library project.

Scroll to lines 74.24 to find $2.75 million in FY 18 and $2.5 million in FY 19 for regional library systems legacy funding.

In other news –

Ann Hokanson, Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative, did a great job representing us in the Senate Legacy committee. Many thanks to her and Sen. Senjem for their work in getting us this far in the Senate’s process. No word yet on when the Senate Legacy bill will be released. I’m going to guess sometime next week.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

House Education Bill Released

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Education Finance Committee released a copy of their draft omnibus education finance and policy bill this morning.

Click here to link to the document

The bill provides $50,000 in each of the next two fiscal years (2018 and 2019) for the Center for the Book, but doesn’t include this funding in the on-going state government base.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t include any of our proposed RLBSS and Multitype funding request.

For schools, the bill reduces compensatory aid as a means to provide some additional funding on the basic formula. The bill adds 1.3% and then 1.6% on the basic formula for all kids.

The bill is a far cry from what Governor Dayton will sign into law. It’s the House GOP’s starting point for end game negotiations with the administration.

The bill spends an additional $257 million over the next two years on E-12 programs. The Governor has proposed an additional $709 million over the same period.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

IMLS Statement on President’s Proposed Budget

Institute of Museum and Library Services Issues Statement on the President’s Proposed FY 18 Budget

Washington, DC — Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew released the following statement on the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget, which includes elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Since its inception 20 years ago, the grants and programs the Institute of Museum and Library Services has administered have provided critical support that has enabled museums and libraries across the country to make a tremendous difference in their communities. The institutions we serve provide vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development. Our agency’s support enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families as well as increase care for and access to the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.

We’ve invested in rural and smaller communities by supporting basic infrastructure and the development of libraries as local community hubs for broadband connectivity and digital literacy training, which has helped hundreds of residents gain job-related skills and, in many cases, find employment. In summary, our grants and programs support libraries and museums as essential contributors to improving Americans’ quality of life.

More than $214 million of our $230 million FY 2016 enacted budget targets museums and libraries directly through our grant programs. This includes $155 million for library services to every state and territory in the country through a population-based formula grant program.

As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day.